EDUCATION
11/28/2012 01:01 pm ET

Arne Duncan Responds To Thomas Friedman Column: No Chance I'll Be Secretary Of State

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Wednesday rejected a suggestion that he should serve as the next secretary of state.

In a Tuesday New York Times column, Thomas Friedman argued for Duncan's appointment as the best candidate to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in President Barack Obama's second term. Friedman laid out Duncan's virtues of negotiating skills, mediation and expertise in education as key characteristics for his potential success in the role.

But when asked about the suggestion during an address to the Foundation for Excellence in Education conference in Washington, D.C., Duncan flatly rejected the idea, joking that his odds of becoming an exotic dancer are higher than those of becoming secretary of state.

"Last week The Onion said I was going to become a male stripper," Duncan said, according to the Washington Times. "The Onion is probably more accurate than Tom Friedman."

Duncan, formerly CEO of Chicago Public Schools, was featured in a piece last week in the satirical newspaper, which wrote the education secretary had resorted to "stripping to put nation through school." In yet another one of his tongue-in-cheek responses, Duncan wrote on Twitter that it was his "secret plan B if we lost the election."

Duncan also implied in a speech to the Council of Chief State School Officers earlier this month that he intends to stay in his current position, outlining "a mini preview of a second term education agenda."

During his Wednesday speech in D.C., ABC News reports Duncan also touted the need for immigration reform to strengthen educational opportunities for Latino children. He added that it is "absolutely crazy" that the DREAM Act, which would offer a means to citizenship for undocumented immigrants seeking higher education, has not passed Congress.

President Obama did, however, issue a directive in June to defer deportation of undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria, including those who were brought into the United States before age 16, are currently enrolled in school or carry a high school diploma or GED certificate. States like Massachusetts are also offering in-state college tuition breaks to undocumented students who qualify for deferred deportation.

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